North Wales Metal 2 The Masses Heat 2
Live Review by Anthony Timmis
Another trip to one of my favourite venues in North Wales McLean’s Pentre. Tonight was Heat 2 of the North Wales Metal to the Masses. It’s a strange little venue in the middle of a quiet village, but it does have a big stage room. Also only just walking in and immediately finding out I will not just be reviewing but also judging tonight was unexpected!
First up was Blackened Death Metal from Liverpool’s Omega Throne. At the start of the set, the vocalist brought a combination of the gut wrenching lows and the all too familiar Black Metal shriek, which put a little smile to my face. As a guitarist, I love his dark riffs and those solos…ooft. Not only was he phenomenal to watch, but between songs he was shouting at the crowd. His passion was fantastic! I just wish I can say the same of the bassist, who didn’t seem as engaged with the music. Having said that, she have a good crunchy bass tone which really drove their sound, along with the drummer’s ability to move seamlessly between tempos – an absolute pleasure! As I really enjoyed these guys, the only two criticisms I have were that during the first few songs, the vocalist was interacting with the crowd in between songs then after it was just seemed to give this up. The second was they went a bit over their set time. On the up-side I really enjoyed these guys, and even bought a T-shirt!
Next up was Sludge Metal from Liverpool’s Atanamir, and boy do they hit hard. These guys are all about the riffs and they drive their sound so much, as well as those soaring solos. Each member was fully engaged with their music, furiously head banging throughout – which in turn was replicated by a few members of the crowd. My eyes were immediately drawn to the bassist, not only for his riffs but also the lack of a head on the bass. It looks weird, but kind of cool at the same time. Vocally, their style sort of works but did sound a little strained. For me their whole set was faultless, everything fitted together well, even if a little short. Saying that these guys just weren’t to my taste, they are fantastic at what they do but it just isn’t for me.
Apollyon have been around a fair few years now, which immediately begs the question – do they need to be competing for a slot at Bloodstock? The guys brought it tonight, throwing their Thrash right at the crowd with full aggression. The speed Apollyon play is mind blowing reminiscent of Kreator and other old school Thrash bands. They look ultra professional while playing; pumping the crowd during songs, “Let me see those horns”. The only thing that slightly let their performance down a little was the amount of time it took to tune between songs. This is difficult being only a 3 piece band and not having a standalone vocalist, but I felt there could have been a more cleaner way of doing this. Never the less Apollyon ticked all the boxes when it came to Thrash, fast guitars, rapid drums, stunning solos and the gritty voice that accompanies. Loved it!
Being the only nearly Welsh band on the bill, there was a certain level of expectation on their shoulders. Not only this but, having reached the final of this competition in 2018, this added extra pressure. Since then however, they have undergone many line-up changes – which in some ways have worked for them, such as their solos and also the individual bass lines. Sadly this was about all that worked tonight as the drummer seemed out of time, which threw the other two off. For me, this completely killed their set. There were attempts at crowd interaction but these seemed to fall on deaf ears. I feel as if a lot of practice is required and a bit more confidence is needed when on stage. The potential is there and I have seen these guys play brilliantly, but tonight was not one of those nights.
Who are In Depths? It’s not like I haven’t seen these guys before… (last week to be precise). They brought their “A” game then, so I was expecting much of the same tonight. In Depths Brought the most Modern Metal sound to the night, mixing Deathcore with elements of Slam and just about every other genre. It is hard to place them but it works beautifully. They are heavier than a hippo at fat fighters. Vocally his voice is on point, mixing lows and highs in a typical Deathcore manner, as well as ending up off the stage more than he was on it (this didn’t matter to me as it fits the style they’re going for). The one issue with having one guitarist is that when something goes wrong it massively affects the rest of the show. This happened at the beginning of the set, where it seemed to take way too long to fix the issue before they started. Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this set, my head was well and truly banging!
Results time and for me this was a tricky one, as 4 of the bands deserved to progress. Each band brought something slightly different to the stage, but sadly only two bands could progress. The crowd chose Apollyon and the judges had a fight and then ended up choosing Omega Throne. Both deserved to go through and I hope if there is a wild card vote Atanamir and In Depths should seriously be considered.
N.E.W Metal Productions:
M2TM North Wales:
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